One of the small things that charmed me about our San Diego neighborhood when I first visited it, was the presence of a small, independent used cookbook store. I’d manage to only wander in once during my first year here. Sadly, it’s closing this Christmas. The owner explained to me that she can make more money working less hours by selling rarer cookbooks from home on the internet in four hours than working full-time running her shop. That’s what’s happening in America right now.
Sad as it is to lose another bookstore, let alone an independent one specializing in one of my favorite pastimes, I’ve managed to make up for lost time by visiting frequently and taking advantage of the sell-out prices. I picked up four vegetarian cookbooks for the price of $13. My German husband was not as enthusiastic as I was about these particular meatless bargain purchases. The next time I stopped by to browse, I couldn’t resist a 70s relic of a fondue and chafing dish cookbook. And last week, while I was waiting for my children to finish their music class around the corner, I wandered back in and succumbed to making some more unessential yet irresistible purchases: two German cookbooks. There was a third one but even I had to admit at that point that a third would have been excessive. Especially as I realized, the main point of this post, that the culinary styles of all three books were all the same. The same despite the fact that one was published in the 60s, another in the 70s and the last in the 80s. On two of the covers: meat, sauce, veggies. Exotically, at least I think to an American crowd, one of the veggies is fennel.